Article

Coming Down

ISA strips gold medal from Mark Richardson for positive THC test

| posted on August 23, 2013
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Australian Mark Richardson was stripped of his 2011 ISA gold medal for testing positive for THC. Photo: Watts

The ISA has stripped Australian Mark Richardson of his gold medal for testing positive for THC at the 2011 World Masters Championships, held in El Salvador. As a result of his positive test, Richardson’s team was docked points in the event and he received a time-served, three-month sanction from the ISA.

As the result, Puerto Rico’s Carlos Cabrero has been awarded the gold, South Africa’s Gary Van Wieringen the silver, and Hawaii’s Ross Williams the bronze.

The substance that Richardson tested positive for, THC, is found in marijuana. While marijuana is not considered to be a performance-enhancing drug, it is a banned substance according to the World Anti Doping Association (WADA), of which the ISA is a signatory.

“The ISA has been conducting drug tests at every ISA World Championship since 1992. Since then, the ISA has conducted over 600 drug tests, including to all finalists at all our World Championships, and this is the first gold medalist who has tested positive,” said the ISA’s President Fernando Aguerre.

Drug testing and professional surfing has been a hot-button topic as of late. At the start of the World Tour season in March, Kelly Slater garnered international media attention when he stated that he had only been tested once last season for banned substances by the ASP.

  • Brent Davey

    If they don’t want them get them getting high, why have the contest in El Salvador?

    • FredZilch

      Marijuana is not legal in El Salvador.

  • greenroom

    Conflict of interest to ban weed at surfing events, especially masters events. sheesh

  • Buckwheat

    Yet another example of how surf contests have nothing to do with authentic surf culture.

  • yoyoyo

    Just heard that Fernando Aguerre had been tested positive for having too much SWAG , it’s a shock!

  • eyal vision

    wtf man
    let them smoke!
    we all fuckin do

  • Mr.Green

    man if they start to make tests to all surfers so many will be burned..

  • shawn

    I’d guess that only a very small percentage of surfers and an even smaller percentage of pro’s smoke weed.

    • Ol’greySurfDude

      uhh…say wha’ bro’ ?

    • hairbrainman

      Wrong.

    • Fish

      Yo there’s a place called Northern California. We spend as much time in the green room as we do in the green room. (Double meanings get it haha) but actually stoned surfing is very common and fine

  • SD101

    It’s great to see that the ISA is staying true to their regulations, holding people accountable for their actions, and setting a good example.

  • CHUCKY

    DID THEY TEST HIM 2 YEARS AFTER WINNING IN EL SALVADOR???????? IF HE TESTED POSITIVE DURING THE CONTEST THEN THIS WOULD’VE HAPPENED 2 YEARS AGO. THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!! MARK RICHARDSON OWNED THAT CONTEST…LOOKED LIKE OCCY!!! STILL THE CHAMP IN MY EYES!! SO WINNING A GOLD MEDAL MEANS BEING MONITORED FOR WEED 2 YEARS LATER? MAYBE THAT WAS THE LAST GLORY DAY OF HIS CAREER, HE GOT SICK AND WAS PRESCRIBED MARIJUANA 2 YEARS LATER, AND NOW GETS THIS PRESTIGIOUS TITLE PUBLICLY TAKEN FROM HIM? I LOVE THE ISA EVENTS BUT I FEEL BAD FOR THIS GUY. HE KILLED IT!!!

    • chucky

      If this happened 2 years ago and I’m mistaken…why is this story coming out 2 years later?

  • hairbrainman

    Where did we ever get the idea that cannabis was something to shun? Many other herbs have their usage in sports, but I guess it’s the huge War on (some) Drugs profits that depend on keeping the myth of demon herb afloat. How many lives will be ruined before the truth is allowed to surface? Speak up and tell the truth to power!

  • jo

    just lost all respect for competetive surfing

  • WASurf

    Looks like there won’t be any competitions in Washington State any time soon…

  • Bart Kalisvaart

    They should have given the guy an extra medal, THC is not exactly a performance enhancing drug… what a load of bs.

  • cobra

    If Pro Baseball Players can smoke,because weed isn’t known to be a performance enhancing drug,why would the ISA ban it or even test for it.and what are the drug screening limit..Chuck Dent had it right in Five Summer Stories about how surf contest have ruined the true essense of surfing! To just go out and have fun.that’s what the Hawiian’s did! surfing is a form of enjoyment not Ego’s! But Ego’s get in the way of enjoyment,and becomes Me,Me,Me! Mine,Mine,Mine! Like the Seagull’s in finding Nemo! How’s that for an Ego chop. Hope I don’t offend anyone! Or their Ego’s.SMW.

  • El Bïlly Nøü

    ~like Sex Wax, it’s better for your Stick~
    T.H. Sea

  • Fish

    Great, taking away what surfing is. Freedom. There are no rules but ride the wave and don’t be a dick, but I guess you can’t do “drugs”. I grew up using grow ops to line myself up in the lineup and never once have seen an “intoxicated” surfer in danger or accessing mental surfing powers that would make him better in a contest. And despite this test, the isa thinks its ok to go get abliterated drunk after the contest, but not to medicate with a little puff. I hope as marijuana becomes more legal in the us the isa and asp will see change too. But taking a title back for getting stoned is fucked up. Seriously